Two Guys With A Bucket Fish Dumpster From Grand River

GRAND RIVER, Mich. –  A big blue dumpster has been an eyesore sitting in the middle of Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids since the record-setting floods of the spring.

The city has spent weeks trying to figure out a way to remove it safely, until a couple of guys decided to get the job done themselves.

But what Keith Brown and Wade Baumgardner accomplished in 35 minutes on Monday gives new meaning to the term, ‘dumpster diving.’

Brown and Baumgardner have been friends for years.  They grew up swimming and fishing in the Grand River. “We’ve taken out over 40,000 pounds of steel last year,” Baumgardner said.  “Motorcycles, engines, all kinds of stuff that is at the bottom of the river.”

“We went out there with a bucket and started bailing water,” said Brown, “and once the water level got below the river level, it started moving, and we thought if we kept going maybe it will move.”

The two men managed to steer the waste bin to the banks of the river at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in front of Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.

“We just wanted it out of the water, because it makes the city look like crap having a dumpster in the water,” said Baumgardner.  “We fish here, and people come here, and this is the presidential museum … and seeing a dumpster in front of it, it’s not good.”

Once ashore, a tow truck did the heavy lifting.  The dumpster had been sitting in the river since the April floods pulled it from its spot in Riverside Park.

Tom Mahoney, the general manager of Republic Waste Services,, which owns the bin, was surprised at the the men’s actions.  “We’ve been working with the city and city manager’s department and the sanitation department, as well as the fire department. We wanted to make sure that when we did get it out that everyone would be safe.”

James Hurt, the public service director of Grand Rapids, said they had no idea two men would take it upon themselves to free the dumpster.  Hurt said the city was waiting until water levels were low to ensure no one would get hurt attempting to remove the dumpster from the Grand River.

5 comments

  • I'll be your Guest

    THINGS LIKE THIS, TAKE TO MUCH COMMON SENSE FOR "THOSE PEOPLE". THEY HAD TO BURY IT WITH 3 TONS OF PAPERWORK. NOW THE UNION THAT PROTECTS CITY JOBS, MOST LIKELY WILL WANT TO SUE THEM FOR TAKING UNION WORK, BEING NON-UNION WORKERS AND ALL.

    • Ron Gray

      I agree but don’t blame the unions blame the politicians that make way to much money for what they do and also. Just think these ppl control the major decisions about your city but it takes 2 men and a bucket about a hour or so to fish it out, what’s the matter the compute couldn’t figure that one out for the city officials?What the heck??? What’s wrong with that picture????? Ron Gray

  • ghary

    probably would have cost the city 6 or 7 grand with having to do a study or two on how to remove it then apply for a grant for the money and such, figure 6 years to get the job done

  • moderate

    "The city has spent weeks trying to figure out a way to remove it safely, until a couple of guys decided to get the job done themselves."
    This was an unfortunate sentence to lead with… guaranteed to bias the feeling of the story, let alone the comments. You even quote the public service director saying that they were simply waiting to guarantee the safety of people taking the thing out of the river. I wonder how the comments would have been different had one of these guys died in the process…

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